Walkability will be key to rebuilding cities after the pandemic

Walkability will be key to rebuilding cities after the pandemic

Cities emerged as the epicentres of the COVID-19 pandemic: roughly 90 per cent of COVID-19 infections worldwide were reported in urban settings. And poor urban neighbourhoods were hit especially hard.

Researchers frequently attributed the vulnerability of cities to high population density, overcrowding and poor air circulation. The vulnerability of cities during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to create sustainable cities that promote health.

Less density, more diversity

As sociologists interested in urban settings, we examined how the physical environment of neighbourhoods shaped the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto. Our findings suggest a few things cities should keep in mind as they rebuild following the pandemic.

First, we should create more walkable neighbourhoods. COVID-19 spread at a much slower pace in highly walkable neighbourhoods. Residents in these neighbourhoods can travel shorter distances on wider and better maintained sidewalks, which may reduce their exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

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